Monaco’s royal family at the circus for Monte-Carlo festival





Monaco’s royal family were out in force for the opening night of the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival.

Prince Albert II, his sister Princess Stéphanie and her son Louis Ducruet donned their finery on Thursday night for an evening of dazzling performances.

There was no sign of Albert’s wife Charlene, but Louis, 26, brought along his fiancée, glamorous Marie Hoa Chevallier, for the occasion.

The four VIP guests, dressed head-to-toe in monochrome, beamed with delight as they posed with performers before the show kicked off, and gave an enthusiastic round of applause when the event was over. 

And in a nod to the evening’s carnival theme, the head of the House of Grimaldi donned a colourful novelty tie. 

The much-anticipated annual circus has become something of an institution in the principality and has been running since 1974. This year’s event runs until January 27.  

Monaco royals out in force! L-R: Princess Stéphanie, Prince Albert II, Stéphanie's son Louis Ducruet and his fiancée Marie Hoa Chevallier with clowns and other performers at the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival on Thursday. The four VIP guests, dressed head-to-toe in monochrome, beamed with delight as they posed with performers before the show kicked off

Monaco royals out in force! L-R: Princess Stéphanie, Prince Albert II, Stéphanie’s son Louis Ducruet and his fiancée Marie Hoa Chevallier with clowns and other performers at the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival on Thursday. The four VIP guests, dressed head-to-toe in monochrome, beamed with delight as they posed with performers before the show kicked off

Bravo! L-R Marie, Princess Stéphanie, Prince Albert II and Louis Ducruet give a round of applause at the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco. Stéphanie, who is President of the extraordinary show, helps to oversee the Circus Festival and is involved in everything from choosing the acts to the choreography

Bravo! L-R Marie, Princess Stéphanie, Prince Albert II and Louis Ducruet give a round of applause at the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco. Stéphanie, who is President of the extraordinary show, helps to oversee the Circus Festival and is involved in everything from choosing the acts to the choreography

It has been just over 250 years since equestrian Philip Astley ‘invented’ modern circus as we know it with a performance near London’s Westminster Bridge involving jugglers, dogs, monkeys and music before taking the spectacle to France for the court of Louis XVI. 

According to tradition, an international jury under the presidency of Princess Stéphanie will honour the best acts of the Festival with the famous Golden, Silver and Bronze Clowns awards on the circus’s closing night.

Stéphanie, who is President of the extraordinary show, helps to oversee the Circus Festival and is involved in everything from choosing the acts to the choreography.

Her father Prince Ranier was the brains behind the first festival, which now as then, specialises in traditional circus acts from clowns to acrobats.

Louis is Stéphanie’s eldest child with her former husband Daniel Ducruet, who was once the princess’ bodyguard.

Performers from the Joy Gartner Family during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco. The much-anticipated annual circus has become something of an institution in the principality and has been running since 1974. This year the event, which specialises in traditional circus acts from clowns to acrobats, runs until January 27

Performers from the Joy Gartner Family during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco. The much-anticipated annual circus has become something of an institution in the principality and has been running since 1974. This year the event, which specialises in traditional circus acts from clowns to acrobats, runs until January 27

The Maslenitsa Ballet from Russia performs during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco. An international jury under the presidency of Princess Stéphanie will honour the best acts of the Festival with the famous Golden, Silver and Bronze Clowns awards on the circus's closing night

The Maslenitsa Ballet from Russia performs during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco. An international jury under the presidency of Princess Stéphanie will honour the best acts of the Festival with the famous Golden, Silver and Bronze Clowns awards on the circus’s closing night

Artists from the Maslenitsa Ballet from Russia perform during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco. According to tradition, an international jury under the presidency of Princess Stéphanie will honour the best acts of the Festival with the famous Golden, Silver and Bronze Clowns awards on the circus's closing night

Artists from the Maslenitsa Ballet from Russia perform during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco. According to tradition, an international jury under the presidency of Princess Stéphanie will honour the best acts of the Festival with the famous Golden, Silver and Bronze Clowns awards on the circus’s closing night

Quatuor Prilepin acrobats perform during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco. The much-anticipated annual circus has become something of an institution in the principality and has been running since 1974, with this year's event running  until January 27

Quatuor Prilepin acrobats perform during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco. The much-anticipated annual circus has become something of an institution in the principality and has been running since 1974, with this year’s event running until January 27

Up, up and away! Quatuor Prilepin acrobats perform during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco. According to tradition, an international jury under the presidency of Princess Stéphanie will honour the best acts of the Festival with the famous Golden, Silver and Bronze Clowns awards on the circus's closing night

Up, up and away! Quatuor Prilepin acrobats perform during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco. According to tradition, an international jury under the presidency of Princess Stéphanie will honour the best acts of the Festival with the famous Golden, Silver and Bronze Clowns awards on the circus’s closing night

Louis’ grandmother was the former Hollywood actress Grace Kelly, who married Prince Rainier III in 1956. 

Princess Grace tragically died in a car crash in 1982, which Stephanie survived. As well as Stephanie, 53, and Albert, 60, she had a daughter Caroline, now 61.

Stephanie had another child with Daniel, 24-year-old Pauline Ducruet, and also has a 20-year-old daughter, Camille Gottlieb.

Louis, who has no title but is 12th in the line of succession to the Monegasque throne, will be the first of Stéphanie’s children to tie the knot – and he recently revealed there were ‘lots’ of tears when he proposed to his long-term girlfriend last year. 

He is set to wed his college sweetheart in Monaco and the pair have already talked babies.

An acrobat of the China National Acrobatic Troupe performs during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco on January 17. Stéphanie, who is President of the extraordinary show, helps to oversee the Circus Festival and is involved in everything from choosing the acts to the choreography

An acrobat of the China National Acrobatic Troupe performs during the opening ceremony of the 43rd Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival in Monaco on January 17. Stéphanie, who is President of the extraordinary show, helps to oversee the Circus Festival and is involved in everything from choosing the acts to the choreography

In an interview with Hello, the young couple, who both describe themselves as ‘shy’, said it was ‘love at first sight’ when they first met in North Carolina.

Marie confessed: ‘Since we were both equally shy, we spent quite some time trying to catch each other’s eye. It took six months for one of us to make the first move. Then it all took off.’

The couple were visiting Marie’s native Vietnam in February 2018 when Louis dropped to one knee on the beach, causing her to become ‘choked with sobs’.

And there were more tears to come when Louis enlisted his mother and sisters, Pauline and Camille, to help him choose a ring for his future bride. 

Prince Albert II of Monaco and his sister Princess Stéphanie arrive at the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival on Thursday night. The much-anticipated annual circus has become something of an institution in the principality and has been running since 1974, with this year's event due to run until January 27

Prince Albert II of Monaco and his sister Princess Stéphanie arrive at the Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival on Thursday night. The much-anticipated annual circus has become something of an institution in the principality and has been running since 1974, with this year’s event due to run until January 27

It's a family affair! Prince Albert II of Monaco (centre), Princess Stéphanie (left), her son Louis Ducruet and his fiancée Marie attend the opening ceremony of the 43th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival. Marie and Louis have told how they were visiting her native Vietnam in February 2018 when Louis dropped to one knee on the beach to propose

It’s a family affair! Prince Albert II of Monaco (centre), Princess Stéphanie (left), her son Louis Ducruet and his fiancée Marie attend the opening ceremony of the 43th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival. Marie and Louis have told how they were visiting her native Vietnam in February 2018 when Louis dropped to one knee on the beach to propose

A royal seal of approval! Prince Albert II of Monaco, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Louis Ducruet, Marie Chevallier applaud performers. It has been just over 250 years since equestrian Philip Astley 'invented' modern circus as we know it with a performance near London's Westminster Bridge involving jugglers, dogs, monkeys and music

A royal seal of approval! Prince Albert II of Monaco, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Louis Ducruet, Marie Chevallier applaud performers. It has been just over 250 years since equestrian Philip Astley ‘invented’ modern circus as we know it with a performance near London’s Westminster Bridge involving jugglers, dogs, monkeys and music

Prince Albert II of Monaco, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Louis Ducruet and his fiancée Marie Chevallier attend the opening ceremony of the 43th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival on January 17. In a nod to the evening's carnival theme, the head of the House of Grimaldi (centre) donned a colourful novelty tie

Prince Albert II of Monaco, Princess Stephanie of Monaco, Louis Ducruet and his fiancée Marie Chevallier attend the opening ceremony of the 43th Monte-Carlo International Circus Festival on January 17. In a nod to the evening’s carnival theme, the head of the House of Grimaldi (centre) donned a colourful novelty tie

Sealed with a kiss! One of the circus performers plants a peck on the hand of Princess Stéphanie. According to tradition, an international jury under the presidency of Princess Stéphanie will honour the best acts of the Festival with the famous Golden, Silver and Bronze Clowns awards on the circus's closing night

Sealed with a kiss! One of the circus performers plants a peck on the hand of Princess Stéphanie. According to tradition, an international jury under the presidency of Princess Stéphanie will honour the best acts of the Festival with the famous Golden, Silver and Bronze Clowns awards on the circus’s closing night

Recalling the day he took Marie home to meet his mother Princess Stéphanie, Louis said: ‘The first time Mum met her she said: “She’s absolutely perfect, hand on to her, don’t let her go.”‘

The couple revealed they would be tying the knot at Monaco’s Saint Nicholas Cathedral to be near Louis late grandfather, Prince Rainier II and ‘include him in [their] happiness’.

The Palace’s announcement of the couple’s engagement last year mentioned Stéphanie’s ‘joy’ at the upcoming nuptials but didn’t specify a wedding date.

‘Her Serene Highness Princess Stephanie has the joy to announce her son Louis Ducruet’s engagement with Miss Marie Chevallier,’ the message read. 

WHO IS MARIE CHEVALLIER, LOUIS DUCRUET’S FIANCEE?

Marie, who has called both France and Monaco home, met Louis while both of them were students.

Like him, she attended Skema, a French business school where she earned a Bachelor of Business Administration.

Later on, she studied marketing at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina, while Louis obtained a bachelor’s degree in sports management.

Marie, a proud aunt, has two older brothers. She currently works as a banqueting and convention coordinator at the Hôtel Hermitage Monte-Carlo, a palace in Monaco.

Before beginning her current position two years ago, Marie held a variety of jobs as a student.

She has in the past distributed flyers and magazines on the street for an advertising agency in Nice, worked as a supermarket cashier for the French discount store chain Leader Price, sold movie tickets and snacks for the French movie theater chain Les Cinemas Gaumont et Pathe, and was employed as a salesperson for France’s state-owned railway company, the SNCF.

While at Western Carolina University, Marie was a French tutor. She was also an active member of the student union board at Skema. 

In December 2016, Marie shared a touching tribute to her late father on Instagram, posting a photo of herself in his arms as a child and writing in the caption: ‘You will be missed. I love you Daddy.’ 

Marie is now an avid traveler who has journeyed around Europe, in the US, and within France.

The travel snaps she has shared on social media include views of Strasbourg and Nice, France, Barcelona, Spain, San Antonio and Dallas, Texas, and Hollywood.

In her spare time, Marie also enjoys watching soccer, sharing her fiance’s love for the sport. Together, they were photographed cheering on the AS Monaco during the UEFA Champions League semi final first leg match in May last year. 

 



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